Montana State Fair Race Meet, Great Falls, MT, Jul 23 & 29, 2005
Sandy Downs, Idaho Falls, ID, Jul 24, 2005 (Track #131)

Pat on the organ, Sip 'n Dip
Pat our organist works out "Burnin Ring of Fire" at the Sip n' Dip

It was July, which meant horse racing at the Montana State Fair, and since that's about it for racing in Montana, I hadda show.

It was about the same as always: Hot. Hard to find a Rainier at the beer stand. And like that. But I did pretty good at this meet hitting some respectable tris, and also had fun in Great Falls.

But then came time for the REAL purpose of this western trip, a jaunt down to Idaho Falls to visit Sandy Downs. It's only like 360 miles and a 6 hour drive. No problemo.

Oh fer Pete's sake. Can you believe that program? "Hoof Pounding Heart Pounding" It's only been used at like, 500 racetracks. Come on folks. Let's get original.

I had always wondered why this track was called Sandy Downs, instead of something more like "Idaho Falls Horsey Speedway" or something, but I soon found out. This track is located in one of the biggest patches of sand dunes you ever saw. Who knew? Sand dunes in Idaho.

The visit proceeded in an orderly McChump racetrack visit fashion, with horses racing, and bettors losing money, and like that, and I visited their little simulcast barn up behind the track, which was like a fair barn with some TVs hanging from the ceiling, and a few folding tables, and thought that was pretty cool. But the real treat was saved for later.

For you see, today we had one of those rarest of events, rarer even than Indian relay, well maybe not quite that rare here in the heart of western quarterhorse country ... the Exhibition Chariot Race! Have not seen since Grant's Pass.

For those of you who missed that seminal episode of the McChump Racing Tour, that's when they hook up two amped up 2yo quarterhorses to something that looks like half a 60 gallon drum on wheels, a "chariot" is you will, and race each other. Oh, it's no ben Hur chariot race or anything, because there's no laps around the track, or nasty razor blade things on the hubs, it's just a flat out blast down the straight with horses runnin' and a brave guy (or gal) along for the ride in the half 60 gallon drum. They really move. And guess what, for you loyal (and long-suffering} readers out there, we got video!

But, you know, since I was already all the way down there in Idaho, why come back the same boring I-15 way?

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